WAREHAM, MA: In a wall to wall pitcher’s duel at Lowell Park in Cotuit, the Gatemen offense struggled just a little bit more than the Kettleers’ offense in a 2-1 defeat.
For the second time in the last two meetings between the Western Division rivals, Wareham faced the daunting task of solving the Cape League’s hottest pitcher, Cotuit ace Kevin Ziomek (Vanderbilt). Outside of a Daniel Palka (Georgia Tech) solo homer in the top of the sixth; the Gatemen offense still didn’t have a clue. Ziomek departed with two outs in the sixth after giving up just one run and striking out five. With five scoreless innings to start the game, the Vanderbilt lefty extended his scoreless innings streak against Wareham to 12. He pitched seven scoreless frames in Cotuit’s 5-2 victory at Spillane Field on July seventh.
As masterful as Ziomek was, Gatemen starter Barrett Astin (Arkansas) was no slouch himself. Astin consistently worked out of jams to keep the game within striking distance. In the bottom of the second with runners on first and third and one out, Astin forced Kettleers catcher Aramis Garcia (Florida International) to bounce into a double play to shortstop Ethan Gross (Memphis). In the bottom of the fourth, with runners again on first and third with just one out, Astin forced Tony Kemp (Vanderbilt) into an RBI groundout and then struckout Garcia. Kemp’s groundout forced in a run but Astin was able to limit the damage and keep the Cotuit advantage at 2-0 before departing in the bottom of the fourth.
In an effort to keep the game at arms length, Gatemen manager Cooper Faris turned to his best power arms the rest of the way. Nick Rumbelow (LSU) and Colby Suggs (Arkansas) did their job holding the Kettleers scoreless over the final four and two thirds innings. But the Cotuit bullpen matched them after relieving Ziomek with two outs in the sixth. Brandon Bixler (Florida Gulf Coast) and Ryan Connolly (Coastal Carolina) combined to shut down the Wareham offense over the final three and a third innings to preserve the 2-1 victory.
It was another listless day for the Gatemen offense, which has been held to two runs or less for the fourth time in five games. Wareham has now lost five in a row and seven of eight overall to drop to 10-14 in 2012. Cotuit is headed in the opposite direction with a six game winning streak. At 14-10, the Kettleers stand four games ahead of Wareham for first place in the Western Division.